Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

subversion

play
noun sub·ver·sion \səb-ˈvər-zhən, -shən\

Definition of subversion

  1. 1 :  the act of subverting :  the state of being subverted; especially :  a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working secretly from within

  2. 2 obsolete :  a cause of overthrow or destruction

subversionary

play \-zhə-ˌner-ē, -shə-\ adjective

subversive

play \-ˈvər-siv, -ziv\ adjective or noun

subversively

adverb

subversiveness

noun


Did You Know?

Subversion is literally the "turning over" of something. In the 1950s and '60s, many people worried about communist subversion of the U.S. government, though they often saw subversive activities where none existed. Nondemocratic governments often claim that anyone who disagrees with them or joins a demonstration is a subversive. But subversion isn't always quite so serious a matter; when words like weekend, sandwich, job, *and *camping started being used by the French, for example, some of them began claiming that America was subverting their language.

Origin and Etymology of subversion

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin subversion-, subversio, from Latin subvertere


First Known Use: 14th century


Law Dictionary

subversion

play
noun sub·ver·sion \səb-ˈvər-zhən\

Legal Definition of subversion

  1. :  a systematic attempt to overthrow or undermine a government or political system by persons working from within; also :  the crime of committing acts in furtherance of such an attempt

subversionary

\-zhə-ˌner-ē\ play adjective

subversive

\-ˈvər-siv\ play adjective or noun

subversively

adverb

subversiveness

noun



Learn More about subversion


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up subversion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

different from the usual or normal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accomodate accommodate acommodate acommadate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ